Diabetic neuropathy: Update on pathophysiological mechanism and the possible involvement of glutamate pathways

Nadia Hussain, Thomas E. Adrian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes. It adversely affects the lives of most diabetics. It is the leading cause of non-traumatic limb amputation. Diabetic autonomic neuropathy can target any system and increases morbidity and mortality. Treatment begins with adequate glycemic control but despite this, many patients go on to develop neuropathy which suggests there are additional and unidentified, as yet, pathological mechanisms in place. Although several theories exist, the exact mechanisms are not yet established. Disease modifying treatment requires a more complete understanding of the mechanisms of disease. Pathways Involved: This review discusses the potential pathological mechanisms of diabetic neuropathy, including the polyol pathway, hexosamine pathway, protein kinase C, advanced glycation end product formation, polyADP ribose polymerase, and the role of oxidative stress, inflammation, growth factors and lipid abnormalities. Finally it focuses on how possible changes in glutamate signaling pathways fit into the current theories. Conclusion: Insights into the mechanisms involving gene expression in diabetic neuropathy can help pinpoint genes with altered expression. This will help in the development of novel alternative therapeutic strategies to significantly slow the progression of neuropathy in susceptible individuals and perhaps even prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-497
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Diabetes Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Glutamate
  • Pathophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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